Thanksgiving: Family, Food, Fellowship and Fahrvergnuegen

Although I had initially hoped for a quiet Thanksgiving at home, family duty rose to the fore and quickly banished all thoughts of staying put.

Don’t misunderstand me: I love my family. But because of circumstances at work, I had only the one day off. So when we got the almost last-minute call to attend a family gathering …. It was a fair amount of driving and so forth all in one day. Could we have begged off? Sure. But not really. Know what I mean?

Luckily, the crew had mercy on us. We didn’t have to cook anything for the festivities. And, of course, it was awesome to see everyone and catch up in person. For the gathering we had many traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, corn, salad, and pies galore. Seriously, there was one pie to every two people. The only thing slightly non-traditional was the choice of wine. Not that it was way out in left field.

IMG_20171123_114032950~2Winemaker: Trader Joe’s
Varietal: Petit Verdot
Vintage: 2014
Appellation: Paso Robles, CA
Price: $9.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: The Trader Joe’s Petit Verdot was dark in the glass with scents of berries, meat and forest floor. It was medium-bodied with good acidity and tannins on the lighter side of medium. The flavor profile included menthol, black cherry, baking spices, pepper, and a touch of rubber. I thought it was pretty good. Perhaps a heartier selection than the average turkey day glass, but everyone was going back for seconds. I know I did.

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La Paca Garnacha 2014

Ever buy a bottle of wine just because you liked the label?  I must confess that is exactly what happened here.  While I’m not saying that doing so is a completely justifiable method of choosing one’s wine, it can lead to interesting surprises.  But … I had previously tried the Altovinum Evodia and Tres Ojos Garnachas both from the Calatayud wine region.  So, like, I had an idea of what I might be getting my taste buds into.  And the label art was just so cool!

Oenophilogical_LaPacaGarnacha2014Winemaker: La Paca
Varietal: Garnacha
Vintage: 2014
Appellation: Calatayud DO, Spain
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: This Garnacha presented pleasant flavors of dark cherry and plum with copious amounts of pepper.  Acidity was high, tannins were low, and alcohol was at 14.5%.

VINTJS Petite Sirah 2013

From the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer:  “When you see the VINTJS label on a bottle of wine at Trader Joe’s, you can be sure of a couple of things right off the bat. One, that wine is a good example of the best of what you’ll find from its appellation, and two, that wine represents a stellar value you’ll find only at Trader Joe’s. . . . Using grapes from their vineyards along Monterey County’s coastal mountain ranges, where a cooler climate gives the grapes a chance to ripen slowly and develop more intense fruit flavors, the winemakers have crafted a hefty, almost chewy red, full-bodied and fruit forward yet decidedly dry, aged for nine months in American and Hungarian oak barrels. Rather than a straightforward Petite Sirah, which would be a much bigger wine than its name would suggest, they’ve opted here to blend in a bit of Merlot, Syrah, and a splash of Viognier ….”

Oenophilogical_VINTJSPetiteSirah2013Winemaker: VINTJS (aka Trader Joe’s)
Varietal: Petite Sirah
Vintage: 2013
Appellation: Monterey, California
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: This wine was 90.7% Petite Sirah with 4.6% Merlot, 2.8% Syrah, and 1.9% Viognier.  At almost 91% Petite Sirah, I think it definitely deserved a varietal label rather than that of a blend.  In the lovely, full bouquet of this VINTJS I detected scents of dark, juicy berries and forest floor.  It was a very dark-colored wine in the glass as well with medium body and good acidity.  Tannins were also medium.  Flavors for me included cherry, black currant, and oak along with a medicinal note and a zing of pepper on the finish.  Despite it being a dry wine at 14.5% alcohol, it had a touch of sweetness on the palate, too.  I agree with the Trader Joe’s folks that this wine was most certainly a value purchase.

Cotillion Pinot Noir 2013

Feel like dancing?  I’m not talking about the headsnapping dance I mentioned previously.  I mean something a bit more sedate this time around.  You see, a cotillion was an 18th century French dance.

Looks an awful lot like square dancing to me but to quieter more refined music.  I was in a square dance club when I was a young kid, so I’ve done my share of do-si-dos, allemande lefts, and promenades.  We were called the Wheelers and Dealers.  It was fun!  Only real drawback for me was that at my tender age I was shorter than most of the girls.  Ha!

Oenophilogical_CotillionPinotNoir2013Winemaker: Cotillion (by Ashford Court)
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2013
Appellation: California
Price: $9.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: This Pinot Noir was a blend of grapes from three counties in California.  The mix was 60% from Monterey County, 24% from Sonoma County, and 16% from Santa Barbara County.  In the bouquet I found scents of pine resin, moss, and mushroom with an underpinning of red berries.  This light-bodied selection was a dark burgundy hue in the glass with high acidity.  Alcohol came in at 13.8%, and tannins were on the light side with a slow grip.  On the tongue I detected cherry, boysenberry, tea leaf and bitters.

Echelon Pinot Noir 2013

As we move into fall with the impending holidays, I thought I might post these notes from seasons past.

Oenophilogical_EchelonPinotNoir2013Winemaker: Echelon
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2013
Appellation: California
Price: $7.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: The color of this Pinot Noir was a medium garnet.  The bouquet contained a generous amount of cedar as well as earth, berries, and a hint of beef.  It was light-bodied with good acidity.  This Echelon also had 13% alcohol and medium tannins.  On the palate I tasted cherry, ash, pomegranate, and tea.

Trader Joe’s Coastal Syrah 2014

Another quick post of archival tasting notes.

Oenophilogical_TraderJoesCoastalSyrah2014Winemaker: Trader Joe’s
Wine: Coastal Syrah
Varietal: Syrah
Vintage: 2014
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: This TJ vino was dark red with tangy dark fruit, sous bois, and violets in the bouquet.  Medium-bodied with a pleasant “round” mouthfeel, the Syrah had moderate tannins and 13.9% alcohol.  Acidity was fine but perhaps a little on the low side.  Flavors tended toward the dark with plum, moss, ash, and a touch of mint.  Considering the price, I’d say it was not a bad bottle of wine.  While I will not be serving this with any holiday feasts or dinner parties, even, it could serve as a very affordable “house” wine.

Cline Zinfandel 2014

I was first introduced to the Cline family of wines by a friend.  He had grown up not too far from the winery and was a true hometown fan.  If I remember correctly, he insisted on sharing the Cline Conundrum white blend with me.  I wasn’t recording tasting notes back then – just experiencing everything I could.  Even so, it was evidently a good experience, because I continue to purchase and enjoy Cline wines.

Oenophilogical_ClineZinfandelLodi2014Winemaker: Cline
Varietal: Zinfandel
Vintage: 2014
Appellation: Lodi, California
Price: $8.50 at Trader Joe’s

Notes: In the bouquet I found boisterous berry, violets, cedar, and hints of spice.  It was a dark, murky red with good acidity.  Medium-bodied with medium tannins, this Cline Zin was at 14% alcohol.  For me the flavors were dark cherry, piquant pepper, rubber, dried green herbs, and woody tannins.  I enjoyed the flavor of this wine, but the bouquet was just as rewarding as the taste.